Energy

Energy

How to address the energy needs in humanitarian contexts without compromising human health and the environment

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Energy usage, including for cooking and electricity, can often pose the greatest environmental impact in a humanitarian response. Addressing challenges of integrating sustainable energy solutions into the humanitarian programming and the program cycle can enhance positive impacts in clusters such as Health, Protection, Food Security, Shelter and Settlements and WASH. See the Global Food Security Cluster’s guidance on integrating energy into the humanitarian programme cycle.

The identification of sustainable energy solutions in acute emergency settings involve the following activities (adapted from IASC Task Force on SAFE):

The identification of sustainable energy solutions in a protracted crisis and post-crisis setting involve the following (adapted from IASC Task Force on SAFE):

The energy for displaced people challenge can be divided into two very different consumer groups:

  1. Displaced population
    Displaced persons, both in camps and dispersed in the host population, have limited energy needs, including primarily cooking and very low levels of electrical power. This is however a difficult customer base, being poor, mobile, often not creditworthy and unemployed. Woody biomass often remains the main source of fuel, coming at great cost to the environment. Degradation of forests contributes to soil erosion, flash flooding, surface water pollution and possibly limiting livelihoods opportunities and negatively impacting food security. Competition over natural resources such as fuel wood can also increase tensions with hosts communities. Increased access to reliable alternative energy sources can decrease or avoid pressures on the environment. USAID has guidelines on improved cooking fuels and on small scale energy technologies. It is important to remember the impact that a displaced community can have on access to energy by the host community, as well as conflicts that can arise if, for example, wood is in short supply.
  2. Organisations mandated to support the displaced
    Humanitarian assistance itself, sitting in off-grid compounds, has significant energy needs. As a consequence of low in-house technical capacity and the absence of capital budgets, these are often reliant on fossil-fuel powered generators. This results in often higher costs (depending on time span and fossil fuel prices) than sustainable energy products and services. To fill capacity gaps across the energy value chain, the Norwegian Refugee Council through NORCAP funds a central roster of energy expert consultants and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has developed a standard curriculum for energy experts.

Resources

Tool

Energypedia

Energypedia is a wiki platform for collaborative knowledge exchange on renewable energy, energy access, and energy efficiency topics in developing countries. The wiki platform is working towards removing the knowledge barriers and expanding the diffusion of information addressing the topics renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable energy access for all.

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Tool

Moving Energy Initiative

The Moving Energy Initiative is an initiative which seeks to integrate clean energy in displacement settings with the help of original research. The Initiative provides reports and tool kits which details the costs, risks and benefits of various energy systems when organizing cooking, power and future sustainability in refugee camps.

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Case Study

Moving Energy Initiative – The Costs of Fuelling Humanitarian Aid

Chatham House report on the assessment of energy use by humanitarian organizations and aid operations.

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Report / Study

UN Food and Agriculture Organization – Energy Needs in Humanitarian Settings

The work of the UN's Food and Agriculture organization in partnership with SAFE to provide clean energy in refugee settings.

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Report / Study

Heat, Light and Power for Refugee – Saving Lives, Reducing Costs

Chatham House Report for the Moving Energy Initiative.

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Case Study

EmPowering Africa’s Most Vulnerable – Access to solar energy in complex crises

Access to reliable energy is a pre-requisite to enable growth and progress for any individual, community or nation. This report, co-authored by Boston Consulting Group, highlights the immediate need to address the widening energy access gap impacting vulnerable populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Partner

ENERGYCoP

ENERGYCoP is a global, not-for-profit community of practice launched in 2017. Its purpose is to facilitate information sharing and increase collaboration among a diverse network of stakeholders who are engaged in providing SAFE to crisis-affected people.

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Guideline

Moving Energy Initiative (MEI) – Innovative Financing for Humanitarian Energy Interventions

This paper explores the increase in resources and funding needed to improve the access of displaced people to modern and sustainable energy services.

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Guideline

Moving Energy Initiative (MEI) – Adopting a Market-based Approach to Boost Energy Access in Displaced Contexts

This report issued by the Moving Energy Initiative (ME) provides information on aid agencies and the risk of undermining market systems if they do not consider established markets in their planning. In worst-case scenarios, inadequate planning can weaken a population's access to basic goods, services and income-generating opportunities.

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Guideline

Moving Energy Initiative (MEI) – Infrastructure Management Contracts: Improving Energy Asset Management in Displacement Settings

This paper highlights a number of options for managing electricity infrastructure in refugee camps. It outlines the challenges, opportunities and operational implications associated with them using the Kalobeyei settlement in Kenya as a case study.

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Report / Study

Moving Energy Initiative, Powering Ahead – Improving how we use and account for energy in humanitarian operations

This toolkit published by the Moving Energy Initiative is a practical guide for humanitarian agencies that want to make energy cost savings and reduce their carbon and emissions footprint. It is part of a series of published outputs examining how energy is used in humanitarian settings. It is designed to…

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Report / Study

CRS & EPP – Peace Renewable Energy Credits

This report introduces the PREC as a new mechanism for financing renewable energy in conflict- and crisis-affected countries. The report assesses the market feasibility of PRECs through the lens of existing renewable energy markets. It includes a summary of renewable energy markets, drivers of demand, and the impact of voluntary…

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Tool

Chathamhouse – The Moving Energy Initiative (MEI)

The Moving Energy Initiative (MEI) provided by the Chathamhouse offers guidance on energy in humanitarian operations. This toolkit provides practical guide for humanitarian agencies that want to make energy cost savings and reduce their carbon and emissions footprint.

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Tool

FAO -The SAFE Framework

The report of the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) presents an overview of FAO's work on the initiative and the steps needed to scale up the approach in order to build resilience through the SAFE framework.

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Guideline

FAO – The guidance note Meeting Fuel and Energy Needs in Protracted Crises

The FAO guidance note presents the experiences and lessons learned which aims to support humanitarian actors in the field addressing energy access as part of food and nutrition security interventions in situations of protracted crisis.

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Communication Material

FAO Guidance – The SAFE Leaflet

The Safe Access to Fuel and Energy leaflet (SAFE) created by the FAO is an initiative that aims at strengthening resilience of crisis-affected populations. FAO is collaborating with partners through the SAFE initiative to address energy needs during emergencies and protracted crises, and to build resilient livelihoods in a sustainable…

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Guideline

UNEP: Key Things to Know About Environment as “Cross Cutting” Issue in Early Recovery

This brief UN Environment note provides an overview of key environmental considerations for early recovery actors, including a short cluster-specific checklist.

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Communication Material

Food Security & Livelihoods (FSL) tip sheet

Sudan Crisis…

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Communication Material

FAO: Food Security and the Environment

Key facts on the links between food security and the environment by FAO.

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Guideline

Checklist for integrating energy in the Humanitarian Programme Cycle

Builds on experiences with the implementation of Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) and SAFE-related projects to guide the Cluster Coordination team and partners on how to integrate energy in all phases of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle. Steps are outlined for each of the HPC.

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Case Study

ICRAF (World Agroforestry) – Agroforestry with refugees in Uganda

This project aims to develop agroforestry models for tree products to meet the growing energy, construction and food needs of Ugandan refugees and locals.

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Guideline

IAEA Safety Standard: Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency

This safety requirements publications by IAEA aims to strengthen preparedness and response for nuclear or radiological emergencies.

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Report / Study

UNHCR, The Environment & Climate Change Report

A UNHCR publication covering topics such as the impacts of climate change on displacement, climate change, armed conflict as well as the role and challenges of the work of UNHCR.

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